Identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.13003/10971
Pain sensitivity and tactile spatial acuity are altered in healthy musicians as in chronic pain patients
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CitationZamorano Andres AM, Riquelme I, Kleber B, Altenmueller E, Hatem Samar M, Montoya P. Pain sensitivity and tactile spatial acuity are altered in healthy musicians as in chronic pain patients. Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Jan 06;8:1016.
Extensive training of repetitive and highly skilled movements, as it occurs in professional classical musicians, may lead to changes in tactile sensitivity and corresponding cortical reorganization of somatosensory cortices. It is also known that professional musicians frequently experience musculoskeletal pain and pain-related symptoms during their careers. The present study aimed at understanding the complex interaction between chronic pain and music training with respect to somatosensory processing. For this purpose, tactile thresholds (mechanical detection, grating orientation, two point discrimination) and subjective ratings to thermal and pressure pain stimuli were assessed in 17 professional musicians with chronic pain, 30 pain-free musicians, 20 non-musicians with chronic pain, and 18 pain-free non-musicians. We found that pain-free musicians displayed greater touch sensitivity (i.e., lower mechanical detection thresholds), lower tactile spatial acuity (i.e., higher grating orientation thresholds) and increased pain sensitivity to pressure and heat compared to pain-free non-musicians. Moreover, we also found that musicians and non-musicians with chronic pain presented lower tactile spatial acuity and increased pain sensitivity to pressure and heat compared to pain free non musicians. The significant increment of pain sensitivity together with decreased spatial discrimination in pain-free musicians and the similarity of results found in chronic pain patients, suggests that the extensive training of repetitive and highly skilled movements in classical musicians could be considered as a risk factor for developing chronic pain, probably due to use dependent plastic changes elicited in somatosensory pathways.